On The Scene 2/15: Does Gaga even come Close?

Receiving nominations at the Golden Globes, Screen Actor’s Guild, British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) and the Grammy’s for her performance in “A Star is Born,” Lady Gaga has topped it all off by receiving what most people in the entertainment industry only dream of achieving – an Academy Award nomination.

Joining her in the category of Best Actress in a Leading Role are Olivia Coleman in “The Favourite;” Melissa McCarthy in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Yalitza Aparicio in “Roma;” and the favored leading lady, Glenn Close for her role in “The Wife.”

Close, who is receiving her seventh career Academy nomination, has never once won, and in my opinion, should not win this year either.

Starring opposite Jonathan Pryce in Meg Wolitzer’s “The Wife,” Close plays the spouse of a man who has just won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Travelling to Stockholm to receive the award, the film spans the week of the ceremony and delves into the beginning of the couple’s relationship through flashbacks.

Meg Wolitzer, who happens to be a personal favorite of mine, delivered what I thought was one of the most predictable stories of the last decade. I can honestly say that I figured out the “twist” ending by a look Close had on her face within the first three minutes of the film.

Close, who I feel like is getting the DiCaprio treatment, is being recognized for a mediocre role and an average performance.

There only seemed to be one point in the film where I actually said to myself, “OK, I believe this.” But overall, it felt that Close did what was required of her. She had a job and she did it.

When it came down to it, I got more of a sense of believability from Max Irons, who played Close and Pryce’s woe begotten son. Overall, Irons was the only actor in the film who delivered a performance that should have been recognized, though you would never have known it because the Academy didn’t decide to give him a nod.

When I watch something, I want to be hit in the gut. I want raw emotion from the characters on screen to make me feel the same way they are. I crave a connection.

That is exactly what I got from Lady Gaga’s performance in “A Star is Born.”

A role that Gaga was hand selected for by Bradley Cooper (who does not deserve the same type of recognition) takes a story that has already been on the big-screen thrice before and brings it into the present day.

The basic story that we have already seen from Streisand, Garland and Gaynor is now brought to the 21st century. The story about a famous man discovering a young, up-and-coming girl and making her a star, now has Gaga at its helm carrying Cooper’s abysmal singing voice along the way, making the remake into something worthwhile.

Gaga, who I can truly say I never liked, has completely changed my opinion of her within the last six months.

She is no longer the meat-suited woman coming to award shows in an egg carried by men dressed in gold. Lady Gaga is elegant, mesmerizing and has a voice that sends chills down your spine.

In the last six months, I have done my fair share of research on Stefani Germanotta a.k.a. Lady Gaga. My opinion of her didn’t solely change due to her remarkable performance in “A Star is Born,” but it was the initial push that I needed to give the woman another chance.

Gaga’s role in “A Star is Born” gives her the opportunity to show audiences that she has changed. Gaga is no longer the “Mother Monster” that she went by for so long, but now a stunning, vibrant actress and singer that deserves to be renowned. Out of every nominated actress, Gaga deserves this award above all else.

Ken Downey Jr. is the Features Editor for Time OFF and Packet Publications. This is the fourth in a series of weekly columns focusing on arts and entertainment. He can be contacted at kdowney@newspapermediagroup.com.